We present our approach to undergraduate engineering education, “A contexualized, social, self-paced, engineering education for life-long learners” through a look at a new two course introductory sequence for the freshman year. As the centerpiece of these courses, we use a smaller version of our advanced research platform, RHex, to integrate introductory programming material with electrical and systems engineering theory. We move away from the traditional “filing cabinet” test and drill approach (fill minds up with facts and test)as students start to become life-long learners, creators, and innovators through exposure to research level problems. The initial assessments of our approach have been very positive. Treating students as junior-researchers and exposing them to cutting edge robotics yielded a 98% attendance rate, 95% of students choosing to take a optional follow-on course, and 90% saying they would recommend the course to another student. We describe as well our students’ development of leadership and communications skills through a required ervice-learning component.Working with high-schoolers from the School District of Philadelphia the undergraduates in the course in turn teach material similar to what they have learned in class
Date of this Version
Date Posted: 10 January 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.